Alzheimer Society wants government to take more action to help dementia patients

People add names of their loved ones to the think it? Ink itCollaborative art project. Carolyn Kury de Castillo

The Alzheimer Society of Canada has called on the federal government to make health care a top election issue, more specifically patients with dementia.

Roughly 13,000 Calgarians are living with Alzheimer’s disease and it is estimated that eight Calgarians are diagnosed with dementia every day.

On Saturday, more than 1,500 people took part in the 25th annual Alzheimer walk and run at Eau Claire Market.

Three years ago Irene Hegg’s husband and family had to make the heartbreaking decision to place her in a care facility after she was diagnosed with the disease and her family could no longer care for her.

Hegg’s daughter, Brenda Davies, took part in Saturday’s run in honour of her mother.

“It was hard,” Davies said. “You have to separate yourself because you were doing what’s best for her but at the same time it rips your heart out because you were taking her from home.”

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There currently is a dementia strategy in place for the city of Calgary and area but Executive Director of the Alzheimer Society of Calgary, Barb Ferguson, has noticed that so far healthcare hasn’t been a top priority on the federal campaign trail.

The Alzheimer Society of Calgary is an independent local non-profit organization.

“I don’t see that we are talking a lot about healthcare within the campaign,” said Ferguson. “But I know that even provincially there is a strategy that’s being developed right now which is very encouraging.”

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and so far no medication that has been proven to be effective in stopping its progression.

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